Monday, May 9, 2011

Are team players proto-dictators?

I was reading (as I sometimes do) and in the midst of this post I found an intriguing point:
Teams give their members, above and beyond anything else, a sort of prepackaged certainty in a worldview and a sense of being right. They validate our certainty, and give us a bulwark against doubt. And recently I gave in to the notion that somehow we must pick a side if we are to ever have anything worthwhile to say, that all those wishy-washy fence-sitters were little better than David Broder, engaging in all sorts of false equivalencies. I was wrong to do so. I was wrong not only to think that I could be part of a team, but wrong to think I could cheer on the liberal side exclusively, that I could fit into that particular box. Oh, I can’t really cheer on the conservative side either, no doubt about that – the conservative “side” being little more than the conservative movement in this case, hardly a movement known for its doubt or temperance. But I don’t have the disposition of a liberal either, really, the faith required to be a progressive, or the certainty required to be part of a team, toeing whatever line is acceptable and appropriate
 I think this is interesting because, at least from my experience in science, the good stuff happens when we're testing our ideas and assumptions, not when we're scaling out our previous beliefs.  It also evokes something of a feminist idea.  My rector in Sorin once noted that men seem peculiarly able to develop group identities, which holds rather well to pretty much all of my experience.  By the association noted in this passage, are men then more likely to express certainty and eschew doubt?  Why yes, my anecdotal personal experience supports this notion as well.  Seems like we could benefit from a few more women kicking about in the power structures and a certainly from fewer "team players" in general.  Where there are teams it seems there are almost always winners and losers. 

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